Last mail from Jerusalem - Myriam

Article published on Aug. 27, 2007
community published
Article published on Aug. 27, 2007
Tonight smells the end of the trip, the end of the holidays. Hebron hotel where we stayed with 80 of us at the beginning is getting empty, tonight I sleep in a dorm almost desert. Depressed after all those days surrounded by people, making so many discoveries, to digest, sometimes contradictory… I had re-gone through the alleyways of Jerusalem that I love so much after 10 days in West Bank.
These alleyways where smells of spices mix up with smells of garbage, where we drink tea as soon as meet a souk seller, where we climb up stairs in hot sun of noon because we remained tourists that persist to move during siesta time…

End of the trip, it will be about time to do the review but I don’t know where to begin. How am I going to explain you such a complicated situation? An analysis draw itself however, terrible. All elements converg to make a conclusion on what we have seen. The state of Israel has a systematic will to break the Palestinian unity and identity. Israel seeks first of all to isolate people on some plot of territory smaller and smaller and more and more incoherent (I’ll show you this on a map and by pictures, it’s incredible the wall even splits sometimes houses and colonies continue to be built… by Palestinians that doesn’t find other jobs).

Then we try to weaken psychologically by permanent humiliations. For example, check-points where we pass sometimes without trouble but where we also can spend hours without particular reason to this different treatment and where some old Palestinians are yelled orders by young Israeli servicemen of 18 to 21 years old, age of the military service. I saw the worst checkpoint yesterday. We had to take of our shoes and it was almost impossible to pass the pinwheel with a big bag because it stuck without any regards if you’re stuck in it or not. Palestinians even had to give their fingerprints but not us. The simple view of the passport opens every doors and I was ashamed to be in front of all the people waiting… What I am worth more than they, me the little innocent of the Occupation lived here since 60 years? And why this huge panel on the other side of the checkpoint going to Bethlehem wishing ‘’peace be with you’’. Seems as cynic as the panel ‘’Arbeit macht frei’’ at the entrance of concentration camps.

An other example of psychological pressure on the population is the incursions of the army inside refugee’s camps and cities during the night. Some of our group heard gunshots and shouting from people the whole night and are happy to go back home now…but Palestinians don’t sleep enough since long ago and they are staying…

Reality is coming out of the elements gathered here, by meetings with different associations but what is the craziest is the echo that arrives in European Medias.

They talk about Israeli-Palestinian conflict but it isn’t even a war between to states. No, it’s about an occupation. About a real will to erase the history of a people and in spite of certain media coverage they don’t talk about this. Even tough I’m still thinking that armed conflict is not a true resolution; I will never again talk about Palestinians terrorists. What these people are doing is what we called resistance in 40-45. They’re resisting toward the occupier, neither more nor less.

Don’t think tough that I’ve been indoctrinated and that I’ve lost any critical vision because I’m gone with a pro Palestinian orientated group… There’s here a reality felt, proofs that I will show you, pictures I’ve took, maps showing the progressive takeover of territories that seems unfortunately ineluctable. By visiting today the memorial Yad Vashem memorializing holocaust it helped me answer this question that was haunting me. How come a person that has itself lived humiliation and segregation reproduce the same thing nowadays? How come we build today a wall like in Berlin? How come that in Hebron colons throw away their garbage on Palestinians that live on the ground floor and that certain ones from our group have seen a colon spit on a mother’s face carrying a baby? And even worst…

How do they dare take in hostage their grand parents dead in concentration camps and legitimize such a policy in the name of holocaust???

Tonight, I’m going to go to sit on a roof beetling Jerusalem and feel the gentle wind that rise at night and refresh the atmosphere. Emotions and different pieces of the puzzle will slowly dispose themselves and maybe one day I’ll understand… Meanwhile, I’ll try to transmit you at least in part what I’ve seen here and that overtake what I’ve been expecting.

I’m looking forward anyway to see you again soon. I embrace you and excuse myself in advance for this a bit messy mail. It’s hard after the tiredness of these 15 days to have clear ideas and to write all of this down quickly in a cyber…

Big kisses, Myriam

Translated from French by: Anaïs Antreasyan